A motion filed by Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw, a convicted heroin dealer, seeking to freeze the campaign account of his Democratic primary opponent, Jamel Holley, and to stop newspaper publisher Lisa McCormick and her company CMD Media from reporting on the campaign, has been sharply denied by Superior Court Judge Mark P. Ciarrocca.
Shaw alleged that Holley had failed to file campaign finance reports with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, and he sought legal action to address the issue.
However, Judge Ciarrocca dismissed the case, describing it as baseless.
CMD Media, the publishing company—a publication tracing its origins back to 1822 as New Jersey’s oldest newspaper— intends to defend its First Amendment rights and vowed to pursue a countersuit seeking substantial damages from the attorney and client responsible for the complaint.
James Devine, a partner at CMD Media, stated that the lawsuit was an attempt to retaliate against the newspaper for reporting on Shaw’s felony conviction for selling heroin, his eviction of a disabled senior citizen whose rent was doubled, and his misuse of taxpayer funds through multiple EZ Pass violations.
Shaw, an Elizabeth homeowner who is seeking re-election as Mayor of Roselle while the borough government is in pandemonium, appears desperate to survive the balloting and his efforts are strongly supported by anti-abortion state Senator Joe Cryan.
Cryan is a greedy politician who packed ten of his family members into public sector jobs and personally pockets more than $330,000 a year for himself at taxpayer expense from two government jobs.
Daniel Antonelli, Shaw’s attorney, argued that the lawsuit was a valid response to the alleged violation of election finance laws. However, Judge Ciarrocca cited a 2012 precedent that made it clear the Election Law Enforcement Commission would have jurisdiction over the matter if there were any merit to the complaint, which there was not.
Devine also criticized the attempt to sue journalists for reporting unfavorable news, emphasizing the importance of constitutional protections for journalists and asserting that Shaw and Antonelli could not evade legal consequences for their actions.
Devine said he plans to seek damages for the abuse of the legal process, malicious prosecution, and the filing of a frivolous legal action.
“It is pretty clear that Donald Shaw is going to be removed from power, and hopefully his anti-abortion Column A allies will have their hats handed to them on Tuesday,” said Devine. “I would like to see Dan Antonelli disbarred because as Shaw’s attorney, he clearly overstepped the bounds of legal propriety. That is why his case was laughed out of court but he deserves to pay for this abuse of the legal process.”
The judge’s decision comes less than a week before the primary election, in which Holley, a former assemblyman, is seeking to regain his position as mayor.
Holley distanced himself from Devine, emphasizing that the former New Jersey Democratic State Committee political director has no involvement in his campaign.
The motion for an order to show cause with temporary restraints sought by Shaw’s campaign was quickly denied by the judge.
Antonelli, who serves as the City Attorney in Linden and has contracts with the Borough of Roselle and other government entities, expressed no surprise with the court’s decision.
“The complete rejection of Shaw’s motion shows the action was frivolous,” said Devine.
The political establishment tried to unfairly influence the case, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian P. Stack bringing a large number of election workers from Union City to Roselle in support of Shaw and other candidates backed by Senate President Nicholas Scutari, who is the Union County Democratic chairman.
Upon being hired as the borough recreation director, Shaw resorted to desperate measures to hide his sordid past of being incarcerated at New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison after he admitted to offering to sell heroin to undercover New York City Police officers.
Sources with direct knowledge of the events disclosed that Shaw intentionally evaded the requirement to submit his fingerprints, fully aware that a background check would unveil his criminal record and the 273 days he had spent in prison in New York State.
Shaw’s ploy to deceive the authorities and the public only came to light after an employee filed a complaint, accusing Shaw of violating her civil rights. The shocking revelation sent shockwaves through the community, as residents grappled with the knowledge that their borough recreation director had hidden his criminal history.